Adrian Newey, Formula 1’s foremost designer of the past two decades, was recognised on a national scale this week when he collected his OBE from the Queen at Windsor Castle.
Red Bull Racing’s chief technical officer was recognised for his services to motorsport during a career that has seen him design multiple championship-winning cars for Williams, McLaren and now his current team. Newey had been honoured in the same New Years Honours List as Nigel Mansell – who took the designer’s Williams FW14B to the 1992 drivers’ title – the 31-time grand prix winner having received a CBE for his role as president of the young people’s charity UK Youth. The 58-year-old joined current F1 team owners Ron Dennis, Tony Fernandes and Sir Frank Williams in having received that particular honour.
Newey hasn’t been the only key Red Bull figure picking up an award, however, as world champion Sebastian Vettel was in Paris to collect a prestigious prize from the French Academy of Sports for the most outstanding sporting achievement of 2011. Awards to the best sports people in France and beyond have been handed out by the body since 1911 and past F1 winners have included Juan Manuel Fangio (1957), Jim Clark (1965), Jackie Stewart (1973), Niki Lauda (1977), Alain Prost (1989) and Michael Schumacher (2001). FIA president Jean Todt was also in attendance at Monday’s ceremony
During his appearance in France, Vettel also spoke for the first time in public since his outburst against Narain Karthikeyan at Sepang in the aftermath of the puncture that dropped him out of fourth place late on. Although his use of the word ‘idiot’ in relation to the HRT driver in his post-race interview with the BBC prompted a wave of headlines, which were followed by ones for Karthikeyan’s forthright response, Vettel believes he has nothing to regret.
“To lose a solid fourth place in the points, that is naturally disappointing,” he was quoted as saying by Sport Bild. “Sometimes you let the emotion show and I don’t think someone should be ashamed about that. This is part of the sport.” Vettel’s outburst was unsurprisingly played down by his team principal Christian Horner in recent days, with the world champion team’s overrding concern in the break between races undoubtedly working out how to get more performance out of the RB8 for China, particularly in the team’s previous stronghold of qualifying.